KUALA LUMPUR: Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong has once again demanded an apology from former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for 1987’s controversial Operation Lalang.
“Not only do I want him to apologise, I want him to show remorse for Operation Lalang,” he said during a question and answer session after Suaram’s 2016 Human Rights Report launch at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here today.
Operation Lalang was a major crackdown carried out by the Malaysian police while Mahathir was prime minister, supposedly to prevent the occurrence of racial riots in the country.
The operation saw the arrest of 106 people, including NGO activists, students, opposition politicians, artists and others who were detained without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Kua said: “Some people say there are others who were detained during Operation Lalang who have forgiven Mahathir and so I should too. But in the frame of human rights, you are responsible for what you’ve done and you need to atone for it.
“Since Mahathir is a ‘born again democrat’, I think he owes us an apology. And all those ‘democrats’ who say they can allow all this to go on without an apology are walking dead democrats.”
Later, when asked to rate the condition of human rights in the country, Kua said that as long as there were laws that allowed for detention without trial then there would always be a bad rating.
“But if a bold prime minister, perhaps Mahathir, comes down and abolishes detention without trial, then the rating will also improve,” he said.